This summer the adventurers of Ithron descended upon the Templar Keep at Labry – to hold the defences against the siege and to put a stop to the wicked workings of the Sorcerors who had been meddling in Ithron’s affairs.
Every year the Fools and Heroes system comes together for the biggest event of our fest season, and spend three days in Ithron as a united force of heroes engaging in the story being told by the CC and his team of referees and mission writers.
I wish I could encompass the whole scope of Summerfest properly, a wish I express ever year. But there is always too much going on, as each player is the hero of their own story and there are many many stories to tell. For the majority of the weekend you are you character,apart for providing monsters during a camp/monster slot or helping behind the scenes for a couple of hours. You get to exist as your character – eat, drink and be merry, sing songs, fight battles and play pranks. This event forms the high point of my summer and its an event I look forward to every year.
Thank you to the exiting CC with his grand finale, the site refs, the adventure runners, prop makers, admin stars, cooks and bar staff, volunteers, helper, first aiders, dogsbodies and general helpers (especially those who pulled double and triple shifts) who make this event and all other fests possible. You guys deserve plenty of cups of tea and biscuits, your tipple of choice, and rest. Lots of rest. I look forward to the new plot being prepared by our incoming CC.
So I will try to write an overview of the event as best I can, by telling the tale of Brigit and all the things she saw. I look forward to continuing the story and the story of Ithron in the year 1016.
The Templar Keep at Labry is under siege by the forces of the Purple and the Black Sorcerors, home of a great deal of dangerous knowledge and things which have been put there to be forgotten about. The adventurers of Ithron gather to break the siege, bolster the defences and keep the forces of the Purple and the Black from their goals.
With the weight of responsibility yet again resting squarely on their shoulders, would the adventurers stand united as they have so many times before, or would they crack and crumble from the forces within?
I was lucky enough to be invited by the adventurer runner to help with an additional mission for a bunch of heroes who were keen to go and do something dangerous before the rest of the camp was even timed in! Schoolmaster Malabayn of the School of Demonology took a select group of heroes (Sir Accolon of the Templar Order, Primate Shroften of Kharach, Father Militant Ulfarr Arnsson of Crowa, Aleksander, Qallan, Dr Tristan) into the Utterdark to hunt the spirit of a destroyed demon to remake a missing shard of Obsidian. The Jester demons contained pieces of a black mirror needed to defeat the Lord of Mirrors who had been plaguing the Sidheans all year and marring their connection to their God; and the missing piece had been dismissed to the realms of the dead long ago.
Entering the Utterdark the adventurers were running out of time from the outset as the realm of the dead drew on their living strength and sapped them of their vitality. Fighting through the dead drawn to their life they freed a set of trapped souls in the ghost of a mine and came to a great room containing the keys to a sealed door – behind which stood their goal. Solving riddles earned them the codes to open a series of coded locks which revealed pieces of a goblet and some pieces of loot. Avoiding the trap hidden in the floor they were able to recover all the goblet pieces and build the goblet that revealed the door that they had to open. Alas, if more than one person stood on the same square marked on the floor they would be struck down, and there were times when many of the party were grievously wounded. But once this was realised the party carefully kept apart and the Jester was unleashed. As it prowled round the group Qallan carefully shaped a piece of obsidian to fit the shard in the Jester’s chest – measuring it carefully whenever the creature got close enough. With the shard fashioned Schoolmaster Malabayn trapped the demon inside the shard and they hurried back towards the portal – being hounded by the dead every step of the way.
The Keep at Labry is home to the Templar Order in Ithron, the spiritual “heart” of the Order so to speak. It was under threat from the forces of the Purple and the Black and their allies who were ever circling closer. Gathering adventurers to their banner would strengthen the defence of the keep and hopefully turn the tide against the threats arrayed before them – but alas they were too late.
As adventurers descended on the Keep from the camps where they had sheltered from the storms the night before, they saw the gates standing ajar with the undead followers of the Purple on guard. Incensed the adventurers attacked and were able to eventually force their way through into the square beyond (though not after Julan had a little chat with the Schoolmaster of Demonology and with the Keeper of the Seven Secrets).
Brigit was late to the assault on the keep and joined the group as they pressed against the gates and broke through, adding her shield and the power of her Lady to the defenders. Working alongside members of the community she helped stave off the attacks made by the undead, demons and war ghouls, with a well placed vial of holy water or blessed weapon, but she was not able to prevent death from stalking the camp. Many died that afternoon (including Dr Krom Goodfellow and Errant Daniel de Burgh) and Brigit mourned them as she helped Gorim consecrate the shrine and preached the good words of Lady Crowa.
Kneeling in prayer Brigit recieved a vision from her Lady that made her cry out. Stumbling out her words she told others of the Church what she had seen – their Goddess fighting alone in the darkness, holding it at bay but reaching out for her Church to aid her fight in this world; and watching her battle alone in the darkness were three pairs of malevolent red eyes. As evening drew in many of the Church set out upon this sacred task, Brigit remaining behind to keep the fires of faith burning within the camp and to await their return.
The darkness crept in and the fires were lit, candles driving back the night in warm patches of golden light. The camp were wary of the darkness, waiting on their friends and allies who were upon their own tasks. Death stalked the camp, taking the high and mighty and the lowly in turn, and a pile of bodies awaiting the tender care of Lady Vleybor soon grew before the Vleyborian shrine as the Kharachians laid the souls of others to rest. The churches consecrated their shrines, a watch was kept on the evening and the enemy that came upon the gates was repelled.
A group went out to the sorceror circle of stones to investigate, fighting off demonically touched and the Konnish, and the whole Church of Sidhe trekked out with protectors to kneel in prayer to their Lord in a place of power to bless and empower holy water to remove the demonic taint that lay over the shrine and all members of the faith.
As the hour grew late Brigit waited anxiously for the return of her Church and her friends and welcomed them back joyfully before retiring to bed. And yet Death once more came to the camp in the little hours – this time in the form of an undead dragon that claimed the lives of Father John Nada of Crowa in glorious final battle and Qallan who joined his friend in the fight against the malice.
In the morning the camp was besieged by Konnish and their creations that seemed unending. Brigit returned to the Keep and began to make preparations for her mission – to act as a representative of the Seven and of Crowa in the Theeril Court to plead the removal of Julan’s demonic nature. Nervously she approached the shrine and was overwhelmed by the care and power granted to her by the other members of the Church and her friends. Blessed, carrying their best wishes and hopes with her (even after trying to refuse the generosity of her friends), she gathered with the other members of the “Chosen” with the demonologists and others venturing to Sharda. This was a dangerous mission, with serious consequences if any of the group messed up. The “Chosen” were each given a ring of Planar Metal that would keep their connection to their Gods strong in the realm of demons. If they moved too far apart the rings would break, stripping all the religious of their power. The “Chosen” were urged to be paragons of their faith – High Father Eldoran of Vleybor; High Mother Brigit Wooller of Crowa; Osrick of Tralda; Lone Fox of Longstor; Father Thomas of Sidhe; Defender Palug of Rolbor; and Brother Kharon Styx of Kharach – and all were warned that their actions would be judged from the moment they stepped into Sharda until they reached the Theeril Court.
Leaving the camp they were met by a Portal Demon which transported them to Sharda, where they fought through demons drawn to the light of the faithful, made their way through a hall of “statues” that came to life, and found themselves in a demon graveyard. This is where the religious characters showed their true spirit – fighting back the undead demons as it took religious power to harm them, Brigit dashing from one end of the line to the other as the other ringbearers formed a chain to let her fight on all fronts. The demonologists worked their arts on the denziens of Sharda and the company made it through the gates of the Courts and on to the Library. Utter silence was required lest the guardians be disturbed and the Demonlogists completed their business with the records before the group hurried on to the court.
Brigit was led through the Hall between the gathered Demon Princes of the Houses and presented to the Prince of House Swords, joined after a little while by the Schoolmaster as the Herald of the Emperor introduced the other religious “Chosen” to their counterpart. House Swords and Malabayn spoke on the matter of Julan and his apotheosis, and Brigit offered her thoughts when asked. She stated her belief that people should be protected, and that if the demon wished to execute Julan if he was found guilty and death was decreed, then it could only come and complete the task set for it and nothing else. Other members of the company had other discussions, and were presented with a collection of artefacts that would carry the influence of the court into the trial of the Purple. Brigit was surprised to be given the Shield of the Emperor, only accepting it as to refuse would be very disrespectful – something they had been warned to avoid.
Returning to the camp Brigit learnt first hand the effect of demonic items in the presence of Godly power. As the Holy Mother Rose approached with the Rose Shield Brigit pitched to the floor screaming in agony. Composed, she stood and listened to the worried lecture given by the Head of the Roses before Brigit’s resolve snapped and she went from nervous priestess to nervous wreck and stalked off for a lie down to rest her tattered nerves. She did not choose to be cursed this way, regardless of the inconvenience!
Saturday Afternoon ~ aka Fury Road!
Members of the Law, the Traldan Church and the Feudal Knights of Ithron set out to stem the flow of demonic and Khonnish allies to the area with the help of two alchemical bombs. Unbeknownst to them the hirer was hoping the bombs would be retrieved by “allies” and put to more devastating use, but his cunning plot was rumbled by efficient adventurers who hurried through their mission as if they were fighting against the clock (which they were, in the form of two ticking timebombs …).
Fighting past their first bridge they encountered an amassed collection of undead led by a tattered form in a Black Order tabard who drove them back beyond their objective. Pulling together they hurried on until they found the second bridge and a horrific scene – a Khonnish portal and a trapped Traldan priestess. Dr Uriah Creep crept forward and worked under fire to cut the priestess from her bonds before prepping the wounds for future surgery, then returning to the party as Khonnish pushed them back again. Leaving a bomb with barely any time on the clock (by cutting a number of cords down the side) and amplifying the explosion through the cunning use by alchemist Talbot, the adventurers began to run. Behind them the bridge exploded and the undead came out of the woodwork. The second bridge was destroyed in a similar manner and through some evidence found on mission were able to catch and arrest their dodgy hirer and put him to death. Having foiled his diabolical plan, the Law ordered the search of the camp for further bombs – just in case.
That evening the Purple aka Julan was summoned into the sorceror’s circle and stripped of his Demonic, Sorceror and Knightly natures through the judgement of the chosen judges that had been appointed over the weekend – all the while hunted by dark elves and a Spymaster. Through some patient stalking the Witchfinder and companions were able to destroy the latter and the rest kept at bay long enough to complete their business and return to the camp, with the bulk of the Crowan Church having been left behind to see to the defences.
And after Brigit retired for the night death stalked the camp again as the Sablewalker paid them all a visit …
The next morning the battlelines were drawn – one to face the forces of the Black, one to destroy the Lord of Black mirrors aka the Sablewalker. As the Sablewalker prowled the battlefield, disconnecting the faithful from their Gods (requiring a battlefield absolution to reconnect them), his power was weakened to the point where Knight Commander Dame Bernadette Hawkwinter, wife of the Chaplain Rose, gave herself into Sidhe’s keeping as his Champion and kicked off. She fought the Sablewalker, wounding him and killing him herself as her companions fought off Khonnish, demons and the demonically possessed. Alas killing the Sablewalker cost her her life, and her husband prowled the battlefield as he tried to master his rages.
Brigit, having been appointed the new Chaplain Griffin at the retirement of her predecessor from adventuring, was able to spend the evening in good company, learning a little of what was to be expected of her in her new position and duelling Sir Gaspar Asturian as tradition required (she won by a whisker!). And amidst the misery of the loss of many good souls, life was celebrated with abandon.
Victory was theirs – now they must make the sacrifice of others worthwhile.
Here is a link to a video made by a member of the system celebrating some of the highlights of the Fest. Enjoy!